"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Clown Show On Martha’s Vineyard–The Hypocrisy Of Sanctuary Cities

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Barton Mayhew lived in Tisbury, the wealthiest and most proper of the six towns of Martha’s Vineyard. His history was the Island’s history for his forebear, Thomas Mayhew, who bought land from English settlers on the mainland in the early 1600s was the first colonial settler there.  The Mayhew fortune grew in the 19th century when the Vineyard rivalled Nantucket and New Bedford for whaling prominence.  Fortunes were invested and significant profits realized until the discovery of Pennsylvania oil put whalers out of business.  The Mayhew family, however much their money was made and lost in complex multi-partner deals, enough was saved to ensure a living legacy for its heirs, of which Barton Mayhew was the last of a line.

Image result for images marthas vinyeard whalers 17th century

Barton had taken this legacy seriously, and felt deeply a part of the Island’s history.  Although its very conservative, New England ethos had been threatened by ‘New York money’, the Vineyard had never capitulated.  The old Islanders, descendants like him from old Anglo-Saxon stock, refused to sell their properties to outside interests, subdivided, golf coursed, and turned into a place like so many others of bourgeois excess.  The younger generation was more willing to consider the nine-figure offers of New York developers, and saw no particular hazards in letting market forces rule, so one by one the old seaside homes were sold and the Island’s face began to irrevocably change.

Barton refused to go quietly, and was at the avant-garde of the movement to save the Island from ‘foreign occupation’.  He was outspokenly anti-development, and fought with his like-minded peers every intended assault on the character of the Island.  Every application for a retail license was scrutinized for cultural consistency (i.e. in keeping with the traditional ways of the Island), no consideration was given to resorts and golf courses, commercial traffic to and from the Island was kept to a bare minimum, and the Island became a redoubt of conservative New England values.

Not surprisingly, this precious jewel of a place, so meticulously cared for, so un-plastic, and so adamantly anti-bourgeois became a watering hole for the rich and famous who built extravagant mansions on sought-after promontories overlooking the sea, situated on hundreds of acres of wooded land.   The Bill Clintons and Barack Obamas were just two of the most noteworthy families who built second homes there.  The bookstores, cafes, and restaurants were filled with singers, historians, writers, and actors.  It became the place to see and be seen.

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Although the Island’s physical ethos was very traditional old New England, its political ethos was far from it.   The Island became solidly blue, progressive, and profoundly liberal.   While the disconnect between multi-million dollar mansions and the extreme, liberal political philosophy of their owners struck many as odd, it was overlooked given the potency of their political commitment.  Had Donald Trump even sailed within a mile of the Vineyard, he would have been met by a flotilla of Vineyarders bound and determined to keep him and his ilk away from their shores.   

It was no surprise that as President Biden began to relax the nation’s immigration policies, many liberal jurisdictions throughout the country declared themselves ‘Sanctuary Cities’, places of welcome to all comers regardless of their immigration status.   At first, the idea of sanctuary cities was only a strong political statement, and few if any mayors even considered the possibility of a refugee deluge.  As much as these liberal mayors sanctimoniously wept at the plight of poor Latino immigrants, they no more wanted them than the most conservative voters of their districts.  NIMBY  - Not In My Back Yard – was their real sentiment, hidden behind pomp, ceremony, and political posturing.

So when the Governors of Texas, Arizona, and Florida started sending immigrants who had crossed the border illegally to sanctuary cities, the political rubber hit the road.  Progressive activists offered shelter, emotional support, and provided essential physical needs; but since no one in power really wanted a permanent influx of unwanted immigrants, these provisions were always considered temporary. 

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The Mayors of Chicago, New York, and elsewhere called foul – Governors Abbot and DeSantis were racist political opportunists, human traffickers, slave merchants.  Of course conservative critics saw the hypocrisy in the mayors’ bald-faced posturing and in the whole idea of sanctuary cities.  Now Chicago and New York would finally realize what it meant to be overrun with illegal immigrants who have entered the country with no vetting, no rationale, or no real purpose.

When two planeloads of illegal Venezuelans arrived at Martha’s Vineyard airport, the residents of the Island were surprised but emotionally and intellectual prepared.  Of course they would take in the newcomers, welcome them, give them homes, jobs, and the good life they were seeking in America; but once the blush was off the bloom of the rose, and Vineyard residents were befuddled as to what to do with these outsiders, efforts began to shuttle them off the mainland where they would be' better cared fo'r.  Over and done with, no political feathers ruffled, progressivism and anti-Trump hatred still in place.

The welcoming rainbow banners were taken down, the kaffeeklatsches abandoned, the sandwiches and soft drinks gone.  Once the ferry left for the Cape, life could go back to normal.

Yet there were those who asked why the Obamas had not opened their $12 million mansion to the immigrants?  Or the Clintons?  Or any other of a hundred wealthy families with spacious homes?  ‘There is a housing crisis on the Island’, shouted a long time resident of modest income.  ‘We have no room for them’.

‘There are barely enough jobs on the Island as it is’, another joined in. ‘Why worsen the economic crisis?’.

Of course both criticisms went right to the heart of the matter.  For all the talk, for all the lofty principles, for all the progressive community mindedness of it all, it all boiled down to NIMBY; and from there to the absurdity of the Biden open-border policy.  The ploy of DeSantis and Abbott worked far better than even they had hoped; and they have no intention of stopping the caravans to the North.  Once the buses and planes hit sanctuary ground, citizens will understand what the governors have been saying for months. 

The choice of Martha’s Vineyard was brilliant.  What better place to show the absurdity of Biden’s policy than this wealthy, progressive enclave of the most liberal state in the Union?  To show up the captains of liberalism; to turn the heads of the Democratic, faithful working class?

The drama, the clown show, the great immigration vaudeville act is far from over, so be sure to have a look before it leaves town.

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